I'm starting off with an issue people have been worried about for a month: what's up with the value of my retirement account?
It's easy to see why: October was the stock market's worst month since I was 10 years old. The volatility probably won't end before '09, given the bleak forecast for consumer holiday spending not to mention Wall Street's unpredictable response to the election.
But I've been giving those who ask me if they should pull out of their 401(k)s the answer: Hell No!
Never jump out of the market at the bottom unless you absolutely have to, which is not the case for the majority of 401(k) owners. If you're in your 20s, 30s or early 40s, you're working with at least 20 years before you can withdraw money from a 401(k) without paying heavy penalties, so you'll lose MORE money by withdrawing now than by leaving your money alone and letting the markets correct themselves. And the market will certainly turn around between now and 2028, so chill.
Since the easiest way not worry about a 401(k)s is to ignore your own losses, I'm doing you a favor and posting my own losses below. When you get tempted to look at your own balances just look at how much I'm losing, thank God you're not me and forget about your own troubles.
My IRA lost 16.7 percent of its value in October;
My current 401(k) lost 8.3 percent;
My old one, which I still need to roll over, lost 17.1 percent;
Since May, my net worth has taken a dive of about 51 percentage points, mostly on retirement account losses.
Ain't it great not being me?